Sep 28, 2012

Maclean's list of Canada's 50 best restaurants leaves out Joe Beef and Au Pied de Cochon

by Alexandra Forbes

I just can't let this one go. As a journalist and ex-magazine editor, I know exactly how much the print media loves their top 10 or top whatever lists - sells ads, keeps them alive.

And the oldest trick in the book is to preface such lists with a disclaimer saying all lists are subjective and controversial.

Yadda yadda yadda.

The fact is that's simply not true. The same way an overcooked risotto will always be a wrong risotto, a "50 best restaurants in Canada" list that includes the VERY unremarkable Dominion Square Tavern, and newcomer Maison Boulud but not Joe Beef or Au Pied de Cochon is simply wrong. Here's Maclean's list of top places in Montreal (the first seven are among my faves too, btw):

31. Toqué!
32. Olive + Gourmando
33. Bouillon Bilk
34. Ferreira Café
35. Les 400 Coups
36. Kazu
37. Le Club Chasse et Pêche
38. Maison Boulud
39. Dominion Square Tavern

Leaving l'Initiale out of the (short) list of Québec city restaurants is another mistake.

And... I haven't been to Toronto in a while, but I'm not so sure it's fair to claim that it has more excellent restaurants than Montreal.

I was glad to see that Montreal restaurant critic Lesley Chesterman let her opinion be known yesterday, before the list was even officially announced, on Twitter (username @lesleychestrman). She wrote:

"Just saw the Macleans 50 Best Restaurants in Canada list. Jacob Richler, you know nothing about Montreal restaurants. "

I'm sure she got the Maclean's people exactly what they wanted: controversy. Which sparks interest and pushes readership up. But really, whatever happened to responsible journalism?

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